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Ho Yay: Free!

General

  • A lot of the Fan Yay turned out to be entirely correct once the actual series started airing. The boys are rather touchy-feely and are perfectly comfortable with each other's bodies. To say nothing of Nagisa deciding to skinny-dip for no reason...
    Young Rin: Romantic, right?
  • The ending animation has - and this is true - the main four Iwatobi swimmers dancing together in (upon closer inspection) a gay night club in the empty pool by the Taj Mahal.
    • And Rin beckons Haruka to skinny dip with him and the others in an oasis at the end of it.
  • This post dissects their sleeping positions in Episode five. This post dissects them even more. Basically, had they been sleeping in the original arrangement (Makoto and Haru in one tent, Rei and Nagisa in the other), there probably would have been some hand-holding and cuddling going on.
    • Speaking of tents, after Makoto suggested an arrangement where he would share a tent with Haruka, Nagisa immediately argued that he wanted to be with Haruka. Neither one of them simply backed down to let the other share with Haruka; they literally gambled over the chance to sleep next to him. ...Poor Rei.
  • It has practically become a Love Triangle between Haruka, Makoto, and Rin with a Betty and Veronica dynamic: Haruka (Archie), Makoto (Betty) and Rin (Veronica)
    • "You will swim for me."/"I want to swim with you." The parallel can't be coincidence.
      • Makoto's words are actually a Meaningful Echo of Rin's just before the original four were going to their final relay together. So it could be seen as the two most significant "swimming" relationships Haruka has.
  • The guys filled their pool full of cherry blossoms, just for Rin.
  • The ending for the second season has Rin dressed as a cop enthusiastically gyrating his hips. The fangirls were pleased

Makoto/Haruka

  • Makoto and Haruka tend to act quite a lot like an old married couple, with Makoto completely comfortable walking into Haruka's bathroom when he knows him to be in the bath. Some of the looks Makoto gives Haruka are affectionate. Really affectionate. He also tends to say exactly what Haruka is thinking (something acknowledged in the light novel), and does a lot of small gestures to, for lack of a better term, take care of Haruka, like bringing him lunch or, more relevantly, helping him out of the water.
  • Makoto's character song Shiokaze no Friendship is dedicated to Haru and their relationship. Here is the English translation. This is KyoAni showing us just how much he treasures what they have.
  • A rather subtle one in Episode 2. While discussing the opening of a Swim Club, Haru goes to get some tea and snacks. Makoto suggests squid, Nagisa wants chocolate, Haru says they'll compromise and make mackerel. What does he make in the end? Squid. Of course.
  • Episode 5:
    • Shows Haruka as caring about Makoto at least as much when he questions his comfort of going to the ocean despite his fear.
    • A fan dissection of ending cards and promo material points out that they always seem to be eating the same kind of popsicle - and these are always the kind of popsicles which are broken in two and shared.
      • An operation we actually see them perform in Episode five: Makoto buys a popsicle at a corner store and hands half to Haruka, who takes it with the comfort of routine.
    • The bottom ending card also has Haruka wearing a shirt that Makoto wears in the next episode.
    • A magazine article has the scriptwriter describing Makoto and Haruka as 'being one set' and saying it's easy to make their discussions like those of a married couple.
  • It's safe to say Episode 6 was filled with romantic subtext for Makoto and Haruka. Let's count the ways...
    • Haruka getting within an inch of reviving Makoto with CPR
    • Haru and Makoto holding hands tightly as kids in Makoto's flashback.
    • Haru looking at Makoto the same way he looks at water. And if we consider how much he loves water...
    • Makoto telling Haru that the real reason he wanted to join/create the swim club was because he wants to swim with him; "Without you, it's meaningless!" It was worded and framed like a love confession more than anything, and knowing how important swimming is to Haruka, it may as well have been. The shared look between them before Nagisa interrupts cements the imagery.
    • That look Makoto gives Haruka towards the end of the episode is certainly suggestive of... something. It's enough to leave Haruka a little stunned.
  • One of the drama CDs has Nagisa asking the group which one out of them all they would most want to date. Haruka picks Makoto immediately.
  • Episode 7 once again has Makoto looking at Haruka the way he quite often does, especially when Rin is involved.
    • Episode 8 even more so when Haru came out to see Makoto after his backstroke medley. Makoto even waited patiently (albeit worried) for Haru to come home.
      • It also gives us Haruka who, upon finding Makoto asleep in the hall, looks at him like this. The whole sequence shows how much he cares about the team in general but Makoto is still special, apparently.
      • Episode 7 symbolized Haruka's despair over being swim-dumped by Rin by showing the reflection of Rin in his eye swirling into darkness. When Haruka comes home, finds Makoto asleep at his door, and gives that previously mentioned look, with Makoto reflected in his eye, he remembers what Makoto told him before: "Without you, it's meaningless. I want to swim with you, Haru!" He then closes his eyes softly as if realizing something or making a decision, and then wakes up Makoto. Another really romantically frame scene.
  • We need to talk about Episode 9. Now!
    • After the boys win their relay and Haru catches his breath, they all say how excited and happy they are. Nagisa actually uses the words "My heart was racing just watching!" No outward reaction from Haru until Makoto says "Mine's still racing!" Cue another one of those.
    • Makoto - with some momentary hesitance - tells a clearly distracted and out-of-sorts Haru that despite feeling a bit frantic about the relay, he was really happy swimming with Haru and everyone and the thing with the gazing happened again. Then Haru gives a speech/confession very similar to the one Makoto gave in Episode 6 about wanting to swim with Makoto and the others, saying that it made him just as happy. Haruka said right out that something made him happy, and he was visually and audibly choked with emotion about it. The parallels to Makoto's speech made the whole thing feel like confessing a Love Epiphany. How happy Makoto looks really drives that impression home.
    • About that confession, the way Haruka's eyes shine when Makoto gives him that speech is something that yet Rin or water have to give him.
    • Haruka won Makoto some goldfish, which is already sweet even without knowing about Makoto's backstory and the relevance of goldfish (also won at a festival!) in it. This look seems awfully familiar...
  • So, how about that Episode 11?
    • "Makoto... I appreciate you being here for me. Thanks." Haru's so flustered he has to go for a run immediately afterwards.
    • How about when Makoto says that he is nervous about being in a hotel room alone with Haru? What does he expect is going to happen?
    • More... innocuously, they come off more and more like a married couple with each passing episode, and it was really apparent in this one. They're inseparable up until Haru gets flustered and has to go for a run, Haru waits for Makoto when the latter gets winded climbing up some tall stairs, Haru turns to Makoto to hide his laughter when Rei does something funny... This look they share after Rei pleasantly surprises them is remarkably like a fond look between proud parents.
  • Makoto picking up Haru at the beginning of Eternal Summer as a call back to the very first episode. Not to mention the disappointed look Makoto gives Haru after seeing that he's still wearing his bathing suit in the bathtub.
  • Haru and Makoto exchanging smiles
  • In the ending, Chef!Haru and Fireman!Makoto eating lunch outside of Chef!Haru's workplace

Rin/Haruka

  • Rin's interactions with and about Haruka. All of them either sound like a scorned lover that tried to move on or wants to get more out of the other again. Haru in turn is like a lover that does what he wants and refuses to conform to Rin's ideal. What they talk about is regarding swimming, but has a heavy context of a romantic relationship that can't be maintained because their personal philosophies branched out and became too different.
  • In the ED, the sequences where the boys are dressed in various Middle-East cosplays, where it is clear that Haru is searching for something he desperately needs and dearly wants, and it is made clear in turn that Makoto, Nagisa, and Rei don't have it, and can't give it to him, but... Rin has it, in abundance, and he knows it, and Haru reacts hungrily...and Rin lets him have it. We're talking about water here. True, the visuals of the ED operate on multiple levels, but the Ship Tease level is blindingly obvious.
  • Haruka's JOY and Rin's Break Our Balance both show how fixated they are on each other.
  • This...very dubious quote from Rin in the first episode, when talking to Haru.
    Young Rin: I'll show you a sight you've never seen before.
  • When Rin said he will go to Australia to train to be an Olympic swimmer, Haru looked visibly upset that he'll move away.
  • Haruka quit competitive swimming because he hurt Rin.
  • Rin initiated a conflicted moment with Haru in Episode 4, complete with slamming Haruka against a fence and getting very in his face.
    Rin: I need a real race. Or else... I can't move on.
    Rin: You will swim for me.
  • Rin being able to smell Haruka's presence in Episode 5.
    • More than likely, this is the case. But do remember that he smelt mackerel, not Haru, and that his team was having mackerel for dinner. So it could have been that. (Don't think so, but let's be fair here).
  • In Episode 7:
    • Haru only taking a closer look at a secret photo Gou took of Rin during their ocean training.
    • Rin dreaming about sneaking into Haru's house, and only entering the event that Haru is competing in in the tournament even though he's good enough that he could have entered other events as well.
    • In the end of the episode, Rin won the qualifying relay they both raced in and swore he wouldn't swim with Haru again. Haru looked like someone who gave his heart out and felt used just to release the mental stress Rin harbored.
  • Haruka and Rin spent all of Episode 8 reminiscing about how much their relationship had changed since they were kids. Haruka being hit particularly hard with why he didn't feel free of Rin's expectation of him.
    • And in the end, Haru made the closing monologue, "I don't need an answer right away. For now..." after their eyes met.
  • Episode 10's flashbacks show that Rin has been singlemindedly trying to get Haru to swim with him even when they were still in elementary school, though Haru initially seemed suspicious of and annoyed by Rin. By the time they reunite a year later, Haru runs over to Rin to greet him, chides him for not calling, even smiles and tries to make small talk with him. Rin's influence seems to have drawn Haru out of his stoic shell. Too bad that it's also Rin's influence that also does the exact opposite.
  • This is an actual quote from High Speed!: "Rin canít move a muscle, canít glance away. His heart is completely stolen away by Haruka, slipping through the water with wings spread wide like some great sea bird soaring through the sky."
  • All over the place in episode 12. First, Haruka being the first to react once Rin feebly gets out of the pool, looking absolutely horrified for Rin. When he goes to confronting Rin by the tree. Rin is so distraught, he grabs Haruka by the collar and tries to punch him, only for them to fall to the ground and start rolling together on the ground. After Rin sees Haruka's message in the dirt, he begins crying while straddling Haruka in a suggestive position. When Haruka invites him to race in the relay, it shows Rin turning to Haruka with tears in his eyes, Cherry Blossoms flying everywhere when Haruka stretches out his hand. After they win the relay, he runs to Haruka, tackles him with a hug, and cries again, thanking Haruka for "the best sight I could have ever asked for." They are shown running into the distance with the rest of the Iwatobi members at the end of the episode.
    • At the beginning of episode 12, Haru was thinking about Rin. When they were children, Rin wrote "for the team" on his brick for the cherry blossom tree and Haru wrote "free." In the present day, Haru crouched down and wrote Rin's message in the dirt with a stick in front of a similar looking tree. Later, when they have their fight, Rin sees the message in the dirt and starts to cry. He questions Haru why he wrote that instead of "free." In that moment, he probably realized Haru was thinking about him.
    • Haru crumples to the ground and nearly cries when Rin quits swimming again. Makoto tries to get them all to focus on their race, but Nagisa and Rei both know there's no way Haru is going to be able to swim when he's so upset.
    • Haru also says that Rin is the one he wants to swim with. Rei offers to give up his spot on the relay to make it happen.
    • Not to mention that when the rest of the Iwatobi team finds them, they seem to ignore the fact that Rin is straddling Haruka. As though it were the most typical thing in the world.
    • When Haru and the gang are looking for Rin, the rest of them yell out for him, but Haru is screaming for him to the point where people on the street are staring at him. He has a panicked look on his face. It's probably the most emotion he's ever shown.
      • Also, after a few minutes of looking, he knew exactly where Rin would be.
  • Many of Rin and Haru's scenes are framed very romantically. The cherry blossoms, meeting across a train track as a train goes by, ect. These scenes wouldn't have been out of place in a shoujo anime (and in fact, many people have drawn parallels to other anime series such as 5 Centimeters Per Second.)
  • The drama cds have a lot of great Rin/Haru moments. For instance, there's one where the boys are reminiscing about their younger days and how Rin used to make a rainbow by splashing around in the pool in a certain way. At the end of the track, Haru gently asks him to make a rainbow again, then jumps into the pool. Rin, who had been flustered, responds (to himself, since Haru jumped into the pool,) "Heh okay, I'll make a rainbow for you."
    • There's another track where the boys want to compete against each other in a volleyball game. The loser has to play a punishment game where they try to make Haru laugh. Rin attempts to lose the game on purpose just to get the chance to try and make Haru laugh. This is Rin Matsuoka, the boy who lives for competition, especially against Haru. He never loses on purpose.
  • In the drama portion of the duet CD, Haru asks Rin if he wanted to pull out a separate futon or if he'd prefer to sleep together with him in the same bed - like they used to.
  • When they were kids, Rin wrote this essay for the Iwatobi year book: "My Shining. Iwatobi Elementary School is irreplaceable to me. The brilliance of everything in turn causes me to shine. The sparkling windows, the fluttering butterflies weaving their way through the school garden. All of it dazzles and makes me shining. That is where I also found my other Shining. If one day we can fly to the ends of the earth together, then the light that spreads infinitely willÖ" The essay cuts off there. Many fans speculate that he's talking about Haru, because Rin has thought about Haru using similar terms before.
  • They had some flirty dialogue the first episode of the second season.
    Haruka: Trying to ambush me here, Rin?
    Rin: I can give you a handicap if you want.
    Rin: You're actually pretty fired up, aren't you?
    Rin: I'm going to make that cold face of yours heat up
    Rin: See? You're all fired up now.

Rei/Nagisa

  • Episode 3. Just...90% of Nagisa and Rei's interaction, the peak of which has Nagisa outright calling Rei beautiful.
    • To take a quote from a comment on tumblr: "he literally flirted with Rei until he blushed his way onto the swim team".
    • Rei also tells Nagisa to take responsibility.
      • The ending card has a drooling Nagisa sleeping on Rei's shoulder.
  • In episode 4 there is a "Blink And You'll Miss It" moment when the boys changing at the shopping center. There is a barly one second shot of Rei with the swimsuit not...all the way up. Nagisa makes a certain noise that sounds quite gleeful.
  • From Episode Five
    Nagisa: Aww, I wanna sleep with Haru-chan...
    Rei: You don't want to sleep with me?
    • Also from Episode Five, Nagisa was very concerned about Rei throughout the episode, offering him help to stand after the long distance swimming and constantly asking him if he was alright.
  • In Episode Six, Nagisa sort of picks on Rei by making him open the scary fridge and forcing him to tell them an embarrassing story from his childhood...and he says if Rei ever leaves his underwear in the locker room he'll go get them for him.
    • After the four are reunited from being separated, Nagisa is the one to defend Rei when Haruka asks him why he went swimming in the ocean at night, saying Rei wanted to catch up to the rest of them.
      • A post on tumblr said what that scene was trying to say was
      Haruka: How dare you put my boyfriend in danger.
      Nagisa: What did you say to my boyfriend?
  • And now there's apparently a drama CD featuring Nagisa trying to convince Rei to let him help shave his junk to improve his swimming speed.
  • Nagisa's original affectionate behavior of hanging over Haruka transferred to Rei once he joined the swim team.
  • Episode 8 has Nagisa and Rei showing up late together for the qualifying meet. The others ask what they were doing, and they look at each other and smile...before they explain they were practicing the changeover for the relay that day.
  • In the drama CD, when Nagisa talks about who he'd date out of the team if he was a girl, he immediately states he wouldn't date Rei, Rei then asks why and Nagisa explains it's because he'd nag him. Rei then proceeds to list the things that qualify him as a good boyfriend, as if trying to persuade Nagisa that he should date him if the event was to arise.
  • Also in the drama CD, Rei asks Nagisa about his and Haruka's first meeting, he phrases it as "I want to ask you something" and Nagisa says he'll tell Rei anything and immediately starts listing facts about him, such as his birthday, star sign, and likes/dislikes.
  • Nagisa and Rei spend most of Episode 9 trying to keep Rin away from Haruka. Rei shadows Rin and updates Nagisa over text message. The fun comes in when Nagisa receives the texts and imagines Rei in dramatic, sexy poses surrounded by bubbles and sparkles.
    • Also at the end of Episode 9, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of Rei giving Nagisa a shoulder massage and is helping him stretch.
    • In general Rei and Nagisa are getting along very well in this episode, with Nagisa teasing Rei a little less and Rei handling what teasing he does get much better.
  • In Episode 11, the gang goes over to Rei's house when he misses a swim meet, and someone asks if anyone has been to his house. No one has except Nagisa, who says he lives nearby and "has stopped by a few times."
    • At Rei's house when they all enter his room, Nagisa casually lies down on Rei's bed, as if it's the most normal thing in the world.
  • Spoon 2Di's new cover has the boys all holding hands, but Rei and Nagisa are the only two who have their fingers interlocked...
  • Rei's horoscope basically says Nagisa is the most compatible with him.
  • Let's not forget this rather dubious (when out of context) exchange from the drama C Ds
    Rei: Nagisa-kun? What are you doing with that hand?
    Nagisa: I'm going to make you slimy, Rei-chan...
    • Actually, it's fairly dubious in context. Never mind.

Haruka/Rei

  • Anyone else felt like Rei's been shot by cupid when he watched Haruka swim for the first time?
  • Rei was the only one who said Haruka's sketch of Iwatobi-chan was beautiful, Nagisa and Makoto look at him questioningly.
  • Rei looked at Haru in the end of Episode 4 gratefully for his inspiration to try the butterfly style.
  • Episode 8, Rei was the first person who wanted to look for Haru after his freestyle lost.
    • The ending card has Rei eating some cooked meat off Haru's chopsticks.
  • In episode 9, Haru had no apparent interest in going to the squid festival before hearing that Rei personally wanted him to come. The way Rei's face lights up when he sees that Haru came after all is just plain cute.
  • In Episode 11, Rei made a very passionate speech against Rin for antagonizing Haruka to the point he quit swimming in middle school and upseting him during prefecturals.

Haruka/Nagisa

  • Nagisa's reasoning for enrolling in Iwatobi High was so he could watch Haru swim and to swim with him again.
  • In Episode Five, Nagisa says he wants to sleep in a tent with Haruka, saying he thought Rei was the type of person to grind his teeth while he sleeps; if that was the case, wouldn't sharing a tent with Makoto also solve that situation?
  • The ending card of Episode 6 has Haruka and Nagisa comparing tan lines.
  • In the drama CD, Nagisa reacts with shock to the fact that Haruka picked Makoto as the one he most wanted to date, and quickly says he'd make mackerel for Haruka if they dated in order to change his mind (and it worked).
  • In the drama CD, it depicts how Nagisa and Haruka first met, which involved Haruka giving his swimsuit to Nagisa because one of his sisters put in one of theirs in his bag and said he hated swimming. After telling the story, Nagisa discovers his sisters pulled the same prank on him and Haruka once again offered him a swimsuit (this time a spare), Haruka acted as he didn't remember the event, but after lending a suit to Nagisa, he said he didn't want to hear him say he hates swimming. Nagisa is happy to see he remembered their meeting and hugs him, making them fall into the pool and proclaiming aloud, "I love you, Haru-chan!"
    • In the same drama CD, Rei asks about Nagisa and Haruka's relationship, Haruka says "relationship" in a confused tone that sounded as if he thought by "relationship" Rei meant if he and Nagisa were in a romantic relationship.
    • Also in the same drama CD, Rei asks why Nagisa is emotionally attached to Haruka.
  • In Episode 9, after winning the relay and Haruka gets out of the pool, Nagisa exclaims aloud "I love you, Haru-chan!" and hugs him, wrapping his legs around his waist and clinging onto him.
    • It's also worth noting that he used 'aishiteru', which carries far heavier romantic connotations than 'daisuki'.

Rin/Nitori

  • This sample from the drama CD. Nitori really sounds like he has the biggest crush on Rin. Not to mention that "Top or bottom?" conversation.
    Nitori (referring to the bunk beds): Matsuoka-senpai, top or bottom? Which do you prefer?
    • And the conclusion: "Rin likes the bottom."
  • The entire "roommate diary" clip series on the drama CD, entirely about Nitori writing about the things Rin does and how perfect he is.
  • Another from a drama CD, a culture festival involves Rin having to dress up in a maid outfit. Nitori goes on the entire time about how pretty he looks.
    Nitori: Your legs that I can glimpse through your petticoat are so tight and wonderful!
  • In Episode 7 he seems very concerned about Rin only swimming in the same event as Haru in the tournament. So much so that it kinda comes off as jealousy.
  • Also in Episode 7, Rin was comfortable enough to tell Nitori the story of his father's Olympic dreams, and how he died, outside of the original Iwatobi swimmers.
  • Nitori deeply cares about Rin and sticks to him like how Makoto sticks to Haruka, always asking if Rin is okay, and helping his training during practice.
    • In Episode 9, he has demonstrated that he knows when to give Rin space and respect that he wants to be alone at times, and he understood this without being told, when he usually needs to be.
  • In episode twelve, after having spent the last several episodes yelling at Nitori when he tries to help and refusing to open up to him, Rin apologises and asks to train with him the next day. The look on Nitori's face is nothing short of joyous.
    • Immediately topped by Rin starting to call him Nitori like usual— and then correcting himself to Ai. Not only is he calling him by his first name (which is Aiichirou), he's calling him by a shortening of it which sounds like a girl's name, bringing him into the group and making him no longer second-string. Ai returns the favour and starts calling him "Rin-sempai" rather than "Matsuoka-sempai".
    • Almost certainly a coincidence, but many people have noticed that the kanji for the Ai part of his name literally means 'love', making the whole scene just a little bit cuter.
  • In one of the drama CD sketches, Rin and Haruka decide to have a competition to see who can swim the fastest. After undressing with characteristic quickness, they set off, but reach the end at the same time. The other boys pass this off as a tie but then Nitori exclaims that Rin was the one to get undressed faster. Rei claims that they can't be sure...until Nitori declares that he's been recording everything the whole time. Sure, it made sense to record the swimming, but why did he need to record the undressing, even before Rin and Haruka had tied...?
  • In Eternal Summer, Rin encouraging Ai and asking him to not call Rin "captain".

Rin/Rei

  • Episode 11 brought out Rin/Rei in full swing. The two get off on the wrong foot right away but during their confrontation, Rei answers to Rin why he's concerning himself and explains that he wants to be the best team and the team effects him. Rin pretty much has an epiphany right there since Rei's response mirrored the one his child self gave during their relay in elementary school. It shows how he sees his old self in Rei. This is significant because until this point NOBODY was able to get through to him.
  • Before Nagisa and the others visit his home, Rei is seen thinking about Rin's shocked face after he told him Haru quit swimming because of him, and appears troubled by it. Even though he would later tell the others that he's moved past the Rin issue.
  • Also in Episode 11 even though he just met him, Rin asks Gou for Rei's number and calls him out in the middle of the night to talk.
    • Despite knowing Haru, Makoto, and Nagisa far longer, Rin decides to open up to Rei about his experiences in Australia.
  • Episode 12 has Rei give up his spot on the relay so Rin can swim with his friends again. After this, in the end credits, Rin calls Rei by his first name without any honorifics, signifying that the two have at the very least become friends.

Makoto/Nagisa

  • In Episode 1, Nagisa casually strips naked in front of Makoto before cheerfully jumping into the pool. Afterwards, he pulls Makoto into the pool with him , forcing Makoto to take off his shirt and they have water play fight. With Nagisa being Nagisa, he's pretty much flirting with Makoto in that whole scene.

Makoto/Rin

  • In Episode 2, Makoto is the first one to get a hold of Rin's number (probably from Gou) and call him.
  • One of the first times Rin has a feeling that isn't anger is in Episode 5, when Gou tells him that the Iwatobi team is training in the ocean. Rin looks concerned and asks if Makoto is okay before quickly throwing the Tsundere mask back on.

Makoto/Rei

  • In one of the FrFr! shorts, we find out that Rei chose to borrow the penguin speedo from Nagisa because he felt it was the best out of the options Nagisa presented for showing off his legs. He specifically decides this after asking both Haru and Makoto for advice on picking out a swimsuit and Makoto calls his legs beautiful.

Sousuke/Rin

The Familiar of ZeroHoYay/AnimeFruits Basket

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